Translating energy and climate research into policy

Part of the IIASA mission is to provide scientific guidance to policymakers. In 2018, IIASA scientists continued to engage in international and national policy processes by translating cutting-edge science into policy relevant insights for energy and climate policymakers and negotiators.

© Vchalup | Dreamstime

IIASA researchers authored four policy briefs that were submitted as inputs to the UN Talanoa Dialogue Platform. These covered a range of insights on “Opportunities for enhanced action to keep Paris goals in reach”; “Why are nationally determined contributions (NDC) projections so uncertain and how can they be made more precise?”; “What investments are needed in the global energy system in order to satisfy the NDCs and 2°C and 1.5°C goals?” [1]; and “Learning from the past: How energy and climate policies can foster the broader sustainable development agenda?” An additional IIASA policy brief further highlighted the substantial benefits of climate mitigation and achieving the 1.5°C target, as well as where action is most urgently required to reduce the vulnerability of the world’s poorest to unavoidable climate impacts.

In November 2018, at an event hosted by the Global Climate Forum, three EU Horizon 2020 funded projects CD-LINKS, GREEN-WIN, and TRANSRISK participated in a joint policy day in Brussels, Belgium. The event integrated complementary perspectives on climate goals by collectively presenting the core findings of the three EU-funded projects together with their implications for climate policy. IIASA scientists presented results from the CD-LINKS project that explore the complex interplay between climate action and development, while simultaneously taking both global and national perspectives into account to inform the design of complementary climate-development policies.

The team spearheading the CD-LINKS workshop as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Capacity-building Hub at COP24 in Katovice, Poland (from left to right): Daniel Huppmann, IIASA; Swapnil Shekar, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIAM), India; Heleen van Soest, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency; and Volker Krey, IIASA.

IIASA researchers also cohosted and participated in several side events at the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference (COP24). At a side-event co-organized with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan and the UK’s Carbon Trust, IIASA researchers presented the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC) 1.5°C Scenario Explorer – an interactive tool for full access to the scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. The Scenario Explorer, which was developed by IIASA on behalf of the IAMC and IPCC Working Group III, is equipped with an interactive interface that allows policymakers and researchers in related fields such as climate finance easy access and analyses of the pathways.

At an event hosted by the Paris Committee on Capacity-building (PCCB) at COP24, IIASA scientists presented a number of capacity building and knowledge sharing activities related to CD-LINKS. These included tools for assessing the impact of climate policies and NDCs, as well as the MESSAGEix modeling framework and other state-of-the-art tools for integrated scenario analysis.

Finally, at another COP24 side event in collaboration with the COMMIT project and the German Umweltbundesamt, IIASA researchers showcased results from the CD-LINKS project on integrated global and national low-carbon transformation pathways, their link to sustainable development objectives, as well as the experience of major economies in different areas of implementation and policy design.


[1] McCollum D, Zhou W, Bertram C, de Boer H-S, Bosetti V, Busch S, Despres J, Drouet L, et al. (2018). Energy investment needs for fulfilling the Paris Agreement and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Nature Energy 3 (7): 589-599.

Further information
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Japan
  • Carbon Trust, UK
  • Umweltbundesamt, Germany
  • PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Netherlands
  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
  • Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIAM), India
  • E3 Modelling, Greece
  • CMCC-RFF European Institute on Economics and the Environment, Italy
  • Energy Research Institute, China
  • Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • The Energy and Resources Institute, India
  • National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan 

Related research

Other highlights